It's a beautiful part of the world, thanks in no small part to a ridge of chalk rock which forms pretty much the whole south of England and which has shaped it's gentle, rolling landscapes.
That layer of chalk has also been a vital element of one of the strangest and most recognisable geographical features of that area of England, it's chalk hill figures.
Throughout the centuries, unknown people and communities have taken it upon themselves to carve massive figures (usually horses) into the landscape by removing the top layer of soil thus exposing the white chalk underneath.
Thanks to their efforts, we are left with magnificent landmarks such as the wonderful horses at Uffington and Westbury which have been dated at around three thousand years old and two hundred years old respectively:
The exact reasons of why these figures were created have never been fully explained; to mark boundaries or territories is the best explanation most historians can come up with. What is known, however, is that these figures require a great deal of maintenance to stop the chalk becoming overgrown and so many have disappeared through neglect over the centuries, but around twelve still remain.
One of these remaining figures is most definitely not a horse. He is known formally as the Cerne Giant and stands an impressive 180 feet tall on a hillside overlooking an attractive west country town called Dorchester, the home of poet and author Thomas Hardy. he's around three hundred years old, and I had the privilege to spend some time with this striking gentleman on my travels this week.
He is known informally as 'the rude man of Cerne', and I will leave it to your imagination to consider the size of his most prominent feature.
I simply refer you back to the title of this posting ...